A pilgrim is a faithful person who is on a journey. The destination changes through time and circumstance and culture, but a pilgrim is on the move. Historically, when Christian pilgrims would travel to Jerusalem they would carry the Psalms with them. One of the Psalms that was used quite often is Psalm 84.
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. . . They go from strength to strength ’til each appears before God in Zion. Psalm 84:5-7 (NIV)
Step by step on a long and arduous journey, they would recite this scripture. The words served to comfort, encourage, remind, and unite.
They go from strength to strength. This phrase called my heart to attention. Surely as we move through this disorienting time, our prayers are for strength. A strength not defined by traditional metrics, a powerhousing of attainment – grabbing at power, capital, and influence. A strength not defined by perfection (thank goodness!). A strength not based on our privilege. But instead, a strength that takes what we have in any given moment to do what we can and allowing God to bless it. We show up, we offer our ever-changing, momentary best effort and we watch for how God is going to use it. I know in the midst of the enormity of the calamity that surrounds us this does not seem like enough, but for a pilgrim – it’s the walking that gets you there.
Amanda Atkin, Associate Minister of Faith Formation